Cellino breaks his silence
14 Jan 2015 10:03am, by YorkshireSquare
The key talking point of the transfer window so far has been the rumoured sale of left back Stephen Warnock to Derby County. Many fans have questioned the sense of this move with Warnock having been one of the most consistent players at Elland Road this season and having recently taken on the captain’s armband. The deal is currently on hold dependant on the results of medical tests but looks certain to go through should they come back positive. With the financial issues at the club Warnock’s wages had been sighted as the reason Cellino would want him off the books but in his interview he states his age may be more the issue.
“Warnock asked me on Saturday for two more years of contract. I said ‘we will see at the end of the year’. When a player is 30, they will only get a year-by-year contract – that is my rule. Hi is older, Lives in Liverpool and refused to move to Leeds – and is often complaining. So I am happy for him.”
It does raise the question about getting rid of one of your better, most experienced players in a relegation fight though. Many will sight Warnocks age and contract expiration as reasons for him to move on, especially with Charlie Taylor ready to step up to the plate. But with a side full of Italian Serie B players with a lack of experience in English football keeping hold of the likes of Warnock is vital as far as I am concerned. Many of the continental players brought in by Celllino flattered to deceive early on but as the season has progressed and the going got tough many have faded.
One player rumoured to be wanted by Redfearn with plenty of Championship experience is Luciano Becchio. Becchio became a bit of a Leeds legend with 75 goals in 190 appearances before his departure to Norwich. I tend to agree with Cellino’s comments on Becchio though. At 31 and having only played 18 games and scored 2 goals since he left Leeds is he really the kind of player we need right now? We need players firing on all cylinders and Becchio does not appear to be that at the moment.
“We love Cecchio and made a big mistake when we let him go. But now it’s too late. He is not the same player he was three years ago and Leeds is not the same club. He is the past and we are concerned about the future.”
The future it seems, as far as Cellino is concerned is Albanian striker Edgar Cani. The six foot four centre forward currently plays for Catania in Serie B. If he joined Leeds he would follow in the footsteps of Giuseppe Bellusci and Souleymane Doukara on the journey from Catania. Again though, is he the type of player we need? Do we need more Serie B players or do we need some real Championship experience if we are to fight our way out of this relegation scrap. That said will the transfer embargo prevent us from getting that experience we need. Despite our precarious position in the league Cellino does seem happy with Redfearn;
“I love Neil and think he is doing his best. He is not experienced and needs to make mistakes to learn. We are building a new culture, a new history and trying to help the players go in a better way. Neil is the best coach we could have at the moment.”
Cellino does admit though that the Championship is a tougher league than he had anticipated, although he does not fear relegation. Despite underestimating the Championship though he seems unwilling to change his style. We are still looking to purchase players from the Italian lower leagues ahead of players with English football experience. It has not worked so far in the first half of the season so who is to say it will work in the second half of the season.
“It [relegation] would not be a disaster. It is a disaster when you are starving ot have terminal illness. I am not worried about it. We just need to work harder, learn humility and make more sacrifices. The main thing that I have learned is that the Championship is a lot harder than the second division in Italy. It’s a special division. We even have the former England coach in the Championship. It’s certainly better than Serie B.”
So Cellino may seem confident, we just need “to work harder, learn humility and make more sacrifices”, at the moment though I’m still pretty worried we are on the way to sacrificing our place in the Championship.